Menu: Iran

It’s the dog days of summer over here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. All but two days in July have been over 100F. And there’s no end in sight. All day long the sky shimmers and the pavement radiates. My neighbor’s giant tree is dropping leaves. Our crusty grass hasn’t been green in weeks, and I haven’t worn a pair of socks since May. In honor of this painfully persistent heat wave, I’ve put together a refreshing summertime meal, straight from the heart of Iranian cooking. When it gets this hot, for this long, the only way to survive is to swim a lot and eat a good meal after the sun goes down.

What sounds good to you?

Persian Sour Cherry Rice [recipe]
Delicate grains of basmati rice cooked with plump sour cherries, caramelized onion, cinnamon, nutmeg, and shelled pistachios.

Kabab Koobideh (Iranian Spiced Beef Kabab) [recipe]
One of Iran’s most famous kababs; our version is made with ground beef, seasoned with turmeric, sumac, onions, and pepper. For a special treat, dip kabab pieces in sweet/tart pomegranate syrup. 

Iranian Cucumber Salad [recipe]
A sour and crunchy blast of cucumbers, onion, lime, and vinegar, dusted with sumac. As you chew, there’s a healthy burn thanks to coarsely ground black pepper. Serve as an alternative to pickles and slaws.

Doogh [recipe]
A Middle Eastern drink made with yogurt, mint, salt, and pepper. It’ll refresh you when temperatures refuse to back down.

Laura Kelley comes through again! Her book, The Silk Road Gourmet, inspired three of this week’s recipes. You can find more recipes and fascinating history on her blog Silk Road Gourmet.


  1. Jessica Bennett says

    Sounds like a perfect menu 🙂 I’m especially looking forward to reading about the rice.

    Sorry about your weather. Is it humid too? That’s the worst kind of heat, in my opinion. Here in southwest Virginia, we’ve been having humidity, about 80% of the days with rain (often major thunderstorms), for all but maybe 10 days since the end of March. It’s really bad for me since this kind of weather affects me physically to the point where I can barely walk (because of lightheadedness where I fall over, not because of arthritis like most people- I actually use a walker which somewhat helps keep my balance, but it’s also difficult to see and the sensation never goes away). Sometimes there will be a day where it dries up for a couple hours in the late morning, and my whole mood changes 🙂

  2. Stephanie says

    I’m interested in the sumac ingredient… Sumac, as in what grows in road ditches in NW Iowa and turns red in the fall? What is the sumac used in Iranian food? I’ll be interested in learning more about this as the week progresses! Menu sounds delicious, as always!

  3. Sasha Martin says

    @Jessica – I’m so sorry to hear about your troubles with the humidity. It is humid here too, although it hasn’t rained in the longest time, so I don’t know how humid it could possibly be compared to your situation. I love 75F with a cool, dry breeze. We’re a far cry from that right now…

    @Nicole – nice choices. Both are very simple and fun.

    @Stephanie – I believe it is the same plant, although you should check with your local botanists before nibbling roadside plants ha ha… sumac is red and sour tasting and so popular they put it in shakers, the way we do salt.

    • Jessica Bennett says

      I don’t care what the temperature is as long as the air is dry. I can even deal with extreme heat and cold for a little while. But if I had a choice, 70 and sunny with crisp, dry air is nice 🙂 We usually get a couple of those days in September if we’re lucky.

    • mark says

      Best place to get Iranian stuffs in tulsa is jerusalem market and 3 more on or around 51st & 52nd st.
      And they can tell you the process of …..
      good luck on your GTA.

      P.S venezuelan spaghetti… ?
      or persian faloodeh should be the same. (starch noodle ,sugar water and GOLAB rose water.

  4. Poisonous sumac is smooth stemmed. Non-poisonous is furry.

    Or is it the other way around??

  5. Sasha Martin says

    @mark – I’ve been to the Jerusalem Market – that’s where I got my sword skewers. Love them!

    @mom – Not sure on either point… ha ha

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